Oil Stains

 

He was oily. His hair, his smile.

“Sit,” he licked his lips. “It’s not often I get a visit from such an elegant lady.”

“I’ll stand.”

“As you wish, beautiful.” His eyes scanned me head to toe then met mine. “Better view for me.”

I slid the envelope across to him.

He took his time looking through the contents, enjoying what was inside. “Here’s your money,” he leered.

I reached for the cash too quickly, brushing his knuckles with my fingertips. I cringed.

He laughed.

I would wear the stain of this day for the rest of my life.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

April 27, 2017 prompt: Oil In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes oil. Go where the prompt leads.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Softness #WritePhoto

 

 

Sand shifts under our feet as we run to the sea. It sparkles in the sun.

My chest hurts when I see her smile. It’s been so long.

It’s petty of me but I’m glad I am the one who brought her here, made her happy.

“What are you thinking?” I sit in the slender beach grass.

“Softness,” she looks at the distant mountains lost in mist. “Everything is soothing. Muted and soft. Yet…they’re here.”

Shadows pass over us. Two of the winged beasts. She’s right. We are never alone—we have an audience. And they are always watching.

 

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again this week:

#writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent which asks writers to use photos for inspiration (the photo above is this week’s prompt)

 

writephoto-logo

 

and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Audience).

March 23, 2017 prompt: Audience In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story write about an audience. It can be broad or small, and gathered for any reason. How does your character react to the audience?

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Colors

 

I smear color on tiles, watching different shades swirl together under my fingertips.

“Dammit, girl!” Heels click down the hall. “Why do you insist…” The woman’s eyes are wild, searching the corridor. She kneels in her nylons and clean skirt to look at the mess. “Well,” she tilts her head, “it’s a pretty one you’ve made here. You could have been an artist.” She yanks her sleeve over her hand and wipes away the colors. “No more. You’ll get us both killed. Understand?”

I stare at the women. She is always nice to me but I will find more colors.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

 

March 16, 2017 prompt: No Art In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Transformation

 

Charli said something in her 99-word flash challenge this week: “We are forged in the fires…[we] want to fully transform into something of beauty and purpose.” This reminded me very much of a tweet I wrote:

 

 

It’s not 99 words, it’s 19. Let’s see if I can expand this…

 

I struggle to find what’s real.

My mind feels like melted glass, being stretched and twisted into something I don’t recognize. If someone were to put my mind on display, it would be unsightly and puzzling. I hope it doesn’t turn out that way. If the glass can be manipulated as easily as pulling taffy, I think it can be made into something beautiful and useful. Perhaps a vase.

 

Okay, we’re at 69 words. Let’s just add 30 more…

 

I struggle to find what’s real.

I’m picking up sounds—buzzing and static. I think they’re trying to talk to me. Or maybe it’s me saying something. My words are lost in a haze of unrest.

My mind feels like melted glass, being stretched and twisted into something I don’t recognize. If someone were to put my mind on display, it would be unsightly and puzzling. I hope it doesn’t turn out that way. If the glass can be manipulated as easily as pulling taffy, I think it can be made into something beautiful and useful. Perhaps a vase.

 

Ah. And there you have it. My 99 for this week. 🙂

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

March 2, 2014 prompt: Slag – In 99 words (no more, no less) include slag (a glass-like by-product of smelting or refining ore) in a story. Slag is also used in making glass or can result from melting glass. It can be industrious or artistic.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

The Porch #WritePhoto

 

summerhouse

 

She was about five when she stopped crying. But she still crawled into bed with me. Me. The broken one, the brave one, the older one.

My identity was older sister.

I’d been alive three years longer than she. That’s all I had to offer.

She snuggled with me, her raggedy stuffed rabbit tucked tightly to her chest.

Sometimes, on summer nights, we’d tiptoe to the porch. I’d point to the trees and tell her they were our watchers. They would protect us.

I remember those evenings the most. When the skies were beautiful watercolor paintings of our bruises.

 

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts this week:

#writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent which asks writers to use photos for inspiration (the photo above is this week’s prompt)

 

writephoto-logo

 

and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Watchers).

February 16, 2017 prompt: Watchers In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a watcher.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Puddles

 

Tina’s legs, splattered with droplets of mud, stuck out from under her dress. A white, frilly thing her aunt insisted she wear today.

“What are you doing? Get off the ground!” Her aunt put her lips close to the girl’s ear, “People are staring!” She hissed.

“White is for weddings,” Tina traced patterns in the brown puddle by her hip. She swirled her finger in circles then squinted. “White is for clouds,” she pointed at the puddle. “Look. They bring rainbows to the mucky mud.”

“Get. Up.”

Tina wiped mud on her dress. “White is not for funerals, Auntie.”

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

 

February 9, 2017 prompt: Rainbows in puddles In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rainbow in a puddle. Create action or character reflection.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Destruction

 

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” She slammed the door in his face, turned to me, and smiled.

“Rhett Butler, Mum? Seriously?”

“Your grandma loved that movie. We watched it every Christmas. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to say that.”

“Well,” I picked some fuzz from my socks, “you got your chance. It was about time, too.”

She trailed her fingers along the windowsill. “I know. I’m sorry. He won’t be back here anymore.”

“I hope not.”

“I made sure of it.”

“Good. I love this old house. And it’s not like this town needs another fast food joint.”

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch


January 12, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a crap about. Something that brings out the feeling to stand up. How can you use it to show tension or reveal attitudes?

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Bones

 

She woke to a noise. Her brain couldn’t register it. Clinking. No, more of a clattering. That was wasn’t right, either. Rattling. That’s what it was.

“John!” She reached over—his side of the bed was empty.

Slipping out from the covers, she walked to the kitchen. Dark.

“John?” She moved toward the dining room and the rattling grew louder. She heard it clearly as she passed the basement.

Opening the door, she gasped. Her hand flew to her mouth, “John!”

He looked up, eyes wide behind his mask.

The players dropped their dice. The D&D game was over.

 

 

 

 Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

 

January 5, 2016 prompt: Rattling In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rattling sound. It can be an intimidating sound of protest, a disorienting loud sound, a musical expression or a gentle baby’s toy. Go where the prompt leads you.

* Just having a bit of fun. Much love to my geeky gaming friends.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Welcome Home

 

“Long day at work?” She brushed some snow off his coat.

He reached for her pinky, lifting it to his lips and kissing her hand. “It was,” he looked past her to the fireplace, “interesting.”

“As always,” she laughed.

“As always, my dear.”

She led him to the fire where she had set a blanket and two glasses of wine.

Curling up in the warmth, he placed his head on her lap. “Perfect,” he murmured.

Stroking his hair, she thought about their love, how easy it all was, how they never discussed the fact her husband was a hitman.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

December 29, 2016 prompt: Cozy In 99 words (no more, no less) write a cozy story. A character might long to feel cozy, or you might describe the perfect cozy scene.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

That Female Pirate with the Axe…

 

I thrive upon the open water. With freedom and fury, the violence inside me unleashed. Sword and pistol held steady. Stealing treasures of gold and those of blood. I fight with lethal force, kill without mercy.

Yet I ask mercy for the parasite in my belly. Fools give it. And I live. The child won’t.

After birth, I return to sea without regret.

A different name. They still know me. Breasts I will not hide, hair like flame. They respect me. Fear me. Know they will wake with an axe in their drunken skull should they cross me.

 

 

I decided to re-post my pirate flash this week for the Carrot Ranch challenge of the importance of a name.

After her capture, Anne Bonny returned to piracy (although there are accounts of her settling down, marrying, and having children). Either way, she is said to have changed her name. Between first and last names, this woman had a trunk full of identities. Changed for numerous reasons (hiding gender, nicknames, hiding heritage, marriages, hiding from the law…), the famous pirate (Andy McCormac, Anne McCormac, Anne Cormac, Anney, Anne Boone, Bonney, Anabel, Anabelle…but mostly recognized as Anne Bonny) was well-known during her lifetime and remains notorious regardless of what she was called.

Sometimes power is in the name. Sometimes power is in the person without one.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

 

December 15, 2016 prompt: Names In 99 words (no more, no less) explore the importance of a name within a story. It can be naming an experience, introducing an extraordinary name, or clarifying a name.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig